Here are some tips and wine selections to help you get your wine tasting off to a great start.
Number of Bottles
It’s best to stick to four or five bottles of different wines. Any more and you might overload your palette and your taste buds won’t be as sensitive. There are eleven different wine regions in France. It’s best to pick your four or five bottles from the same region.
Pick clear glasses with stems. The glass should be held by the stem. Bowl glasses are best so that you can put your nose into it to smell the aroma.
Pour a little of the wine into each guest’s glass. Start with the white or rose and save the red, which is fuller bodied until last. Ask your guests to swish the liquid around in the glass first so that the aromas are released and then get everyone to put their noses into the glass and smell the wine. After that, it’s time to taste it. You can provide something for guests to spit out the wine, or they can swallow it as it is in small quantities.
You can prefer a tasting sheet for each of your guests. Ask them whether the wine was full-bodied or light and see if they can write down a short description of the taste, such as fruity, floral, earthy, sweet, or crisp. Wine notes can also include a numerical description of the appearance, taste, body and aroma from 1 to 5 or even 10. Leave a space for each guest to place their opinion and to say whether or not they enjoyed the wine.
Here are five French wines from the Provence area which will be ideal at your tasting party.
Harmonie de Provence – Coteaux d'Arc-en-Provence
This wine is said to be fragrant and intense. It’s a good choice for chicken and seafood. Your guests should be able to pick up the aroma of fruits and herbs.
Chateau La Canorque Rouge – Cotes de Luberon 2015
If you’re eating meat, especially lamb this wine will be the perfect accompaniment. It’s strong and full-bodied, so your guests will smell the aroma of herbs.
Marie Christine – Coteaux Varois en Provence
The nice thing about Rosé wine is that you can drink it with meat or fish. But, it goes especially well with vegetable dishes. This Rosé is light and fresh and your guests should be able to smell and taste fruits and spices.
Grand Vin de Chateau la Coste – Coteaux d’ Aix-en-Provence
Full bodied and rich. This is the perfect wine for red meat. It’s a fresh red and your guests should be able to recognise the taste and smell of spices and fruits.
Bandol – Mas de la Rouviere Blanc 2016
Serve this wine if you are eating seafood. It’s an organic dry white wine with the aromas of citrus fruits and flowers.
Once you’ve finished your wine tasting you can offer your guests a glass of their favourite wine while you compare notes.
Rob Jones is a party organiser and supplier with a huge love of wine in all its glorious forms. He is based in Leeds in the UK and organises and supplies events throughout the country.